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September 26. 2013 9:23PM

Merrimack gears up for Fall Festival & Business Expo

MERRIMACK — This weekend, local businesses and organizations will be showcased at the Merrimack Fall Festival and Business Expo, which has been expanded to include an evening of entertainment.

The event is designed to provide businesses a conduit for meeting local citizens and showing them what the community has to offer. More than 125 groups will be on hand for the festivities, according to organizers.

The 7th annual business expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mastricola school complex, with venues inside and outside.

Free entertainment for children will be provided, including Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster, McDonny’s Petting Farm, karaoke and live music featuring Siroteau and the Curly Jones Band.

Businesses will be selling their products, and demonstrations will be taking place throughout the event. There will be performances from local dance companies, karate groups and more.

Dave McCray, event organizer and founder of the business expo, said recently that he hopes about 5,000 people will attend the business expo.

For the first time ever, the fall festival will include not only the daytime business exposition, but also an evening portion titled “Merrimack Rocks.”

The Merrimack Rocks event will take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at Watson Park, and will feature folk singer Tristan Omand and classic rock entertainment from The Shotz band. Kicking off the festivities will be the christening of the new Roger Duhamel Pavilion.

The Budweiser Clydesdales, complete with eight horses and the beer wagon, will be on display from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the park.

There will be several tributes taking place that evening, including the first annual Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented to Pete Gagnon for his nearly 40 years of service on the Merrimack Planning Board.

Cpl. Timothy Gibson, a local hero who gave the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action in 2005 in Iraq, also will be recognized.

Ending the festivities will be a fireworks display at 9 p.m., which McCray anticipates will attract a large crowd. He is anticipating that about 7,000 people will attend the evening session.

Parking for the evening is available at Merrimack High School and the old Shaw’s parking lot, with shuttles running every five minutes. Admission and parking are free for both events.

For a complete listing of activities, visit www.merrimackexpo.com.

khoughton@newstote.com


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